I hate to admit it, but I first watched Catching Fire before I read any of the books, or even watched the original Hunger Games. Instead, my impression of the series before watching this movie, was shaped by what I viewed in advertisements on television or in magazines, like those for Covergirl’s Catching Fire collection or Subway’s “Fiery” subs. Everything in the media made the world of The Hunger Games seem so extravagant and lavish, however upon reading the book soon after viewing the movie, I realized this initial impression of mine, cultivated by all the marketing, was completely off from the series’ reality. The dystopian society of The Hunger Games is a mixture of extreme fear, poverty, depression, and a multitude of intimidation and corruption at the hands of the Capitol. However, the ads for the movies rarely, if it all, highlighted the uglier truth in the series. The Capitol uses this same technique as it manipulates the districts. It seeks to make the situation of Panem seem a whole lot better off than it is in actuality through an extreme amount of propaganda.
It is undeniable that propaganda plays a key role in Panem and keeping the districts in so called “order”. When the mayor reads off the history of Panem on reaping day, he lists “the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up much of the land”(Collins). The Capitol seeks to maintain its control over the districts especially on reaping day, which the day itself is plenty of a reason to spark a rebellion, as two dozen children are chosen to be killed by the Capitol. Seeing the obvious reason for potential for rebellion, the Capitol uses propaganda like this to keep the districts in check. They make it clear how worse off the citizens of Panem were before the Capitol came in control. They are making an effort to convince the citizens that with the Dark Days and rebellion, the Hunger Games is obviously the only solution to maintain this “peace”, therefore there is no need to rebel. The Capitol is doing what is best for the citizens, or so it claims. When every piece of information you get about your history is distorted and manipulated, and when you have been told these same lies your entire life, it is hard to see a reason why you would ever have doubt. Even though it seems inconceivable to us today, we don’t know what it is like to not have the freedom to do our own research, form our own opinions, and not have everything we know about anything be based on severe lies. The Capitol needs propaganda like this video to keep their citizens in check and for them to see that their is no grounds for rebellion, even if their current conditions are horrible, the Capitol assures them what they have is good, or rather it could be a lot worse.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.